Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's Almost Time....

So I was out to the NCRS this morning and saw that the barn thermometer says that it is almost time to go to work in the fields.  Well it was around 60 or so.  The fields are still wet, but with a stretch of warm weather ahead, they will soon be ready for some seeds.  There was a lot of equipment outside, including the loaded fertilizer wagon.  No people though.  Was it something I said?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Oklahoma Wheat Express

So again I am slow on the blog reporting...but this is worth the wait.  The week before last I found myself back where I grew up in Oklahoma.  I took a day to look around the OSU campus and here is the library.  Believe it or not, I actually spent a lot of time here when I was a student.  Now that was back in the pre-internet days, and if you wanted to look up an article or a book, you actually had to find that article or book.   A Search back then meant getting up out of your chair and searching for it on the shelves.  
 I usually come down here in the spring to look at the wheat.  I spent one day with Retail Partner Todd Woods from near Perry, OK in the North Central part of the state.  Todd is a busy guy and was frequently on the phone with customers.
 But the wheat treated with Pro-Germinator, High NRG-N and Micro 500 through the drill in the fall and then topdressed with High NRG-N is the best looking wheat around.  A popular rotation is wheat following milo.  
 We did see a field that did not have AgroLiquid that had some disease.  Now I will say that the fertilizer may not have been the reason, but who knows.  Do you know what it is?  It's Barley Yellow Dwarf virus.  It was in these yellow spots around the field.
 Here is the vector: the Bird Cherry Oat aphid.  Now the disease and this aphid have complicated names, and this is a complicated disease.  But the virus gets inside the aphid from feeding, then it spreads it as the wind blows them around and they feed on more wheat.  We did see aphids on about all the wheat if you looked hard enough.  But we did not see disease symptoms on all of the wheat as aphid population was usually below threshold. Some guys were spraying though as the disease can be very yield reducing.
You probably have heard that with the reduction in world-wide oil price, that domestic production has vastly cut back.  Well Oklahoma is a major oil state, and this has had an effect.  Like you can see that the well in this wheat field was not pumping.  Although I guess a pumping well would look the same in a picture.  Well I assure you that if I took a series of pictures that they would all look the same.
 And unfortunately, as is often the case in Oklahoma, dryness is a near constant factor.  Like here you can still see the opening from the drill last fall.  Fortunately parts of the state got some rain last week, but I don't think they did up here.
 The next day I met up with Retail Partner Parker Christian of Cordell in the Southwestern Oklahoma.  We met near Hinton where we have some replicated test plots.  That's Parker on the right with Brennon who made the plot applications.  It was cold and windy that day.
 Here is a topdress nitrogen plot.  There are several new formulations in this test.  It is very sandy ground, but they can put on some water if it gets too dry.
 And here is a growers field that has the full AgroLiquid program.  It also is following milo.  This makes a good rotation as the stalks are small and easy to plant through, plus the wheat can scavenge left over nitrogen. 
Don't let this happen to you.  We were driving and came by this field of new alfalfa that has been decimated by the feeding of the alfalfa weevil.  Further out there is no alfalfa left.  Scouting and a call to Parker who also has a spraying operation could have prevented this.  
 But here is another full AgroLiquid wheat field that looks great.  You can really see the benefits as it seemed that the AgroLiquid wheat in all the fields we saw was all uniform in size and color throughout the field.  
 Here is a field that was not AgroLiquid and it lacks the uniformity in size and color.  Not sure what was used here.
So it was a good crop tour.  Hopefully they get the needed rain to get a crop this year.  Last year was not so lucky.  In fact several grower trials that were set up were not even able to be harvested.  But everything is set up for another year.  The fertilizer is all applied and so the growers have done their part.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Topdressing Wheat Plots

So I was gone again last week, but the weather improved so much that Tim and Stephanie were able to make the topdress applications to the winter wheat experiments.  This actually was last Tuesday, March 24.  Usually we aren't able to get on the fields until early April due to snow and muddiness. But it dried out sufficiently to make the applications.  Here are the spray applications to the plots on Farm 5.  (It's hard to see, but there is wheat there.)
And just to be fair we make comparisons with conventional fertilizers like urea here.  This applicator, nicknamed the Blower, has been shown many times in previous blog posts. But it is still a work of art originally crafted by Doug Summer when he was at the NCRS.  It has a PTO driven turbine fan to propel the granules out the back.  It is calibrated for the different rates applied and is also used for other dry fertilizers in other experiments.
Well glad that's done.

Friday, March 27, 2015

California's Imperial Olive Paradise

Olives are a crop maybe not too many people think about.  Until you need some that is.  I had never seen an olive grove myself, but had the opportunity last week while I was in California.  More olives are being planted around the country, but the Imperial Valley of California provides near ideal growing conditions for them.  I reported on a previous visit to the Imperial Valley in February of 2014 where we had a sugarbeet test.  (Sadly, testing this year was postponed due to personnel changes in the company, but we will be back next time.  Especially since the AgroLiquid treatment was the highest yielding and highest income producer.  Read about it in the research report.)  But we met with a large olive grower who agreed to some product testing.  Here is the stage of the olives last week.  Just past flowering, you can see the future olives.
 How do they harvest all of those little olives.  Well here is a harvester that is specifically for olives. The hedge passes through this machine and those bars shake them off.  I guess that is why James Bond always orders his martini "Shaken, not stirred."  I don't know how you would stir them off.
Here the grower on the right, his agronomist Rocky, our agronomist JW and consulting agronomist Dr. Art Dawson.  We were deep in agronomists. We are discussing applications and plans.
So you can tell from the harvester that pruning is necessary to enable them to fit.  Here is a row that has not been pruned for several years.
Pruning helps promote more stem growth which enables better plant growth and yield.  Here is a stem that was pruned last year and you can see the promotion of stem growth around the cut.
I wasn't around the next couple of days when they were pruned.  Dr. Art sent me these pictures.  Now that is one vicious machine.  The arms rotate as it moves down the row pruning the sides of the adjacent rows.
Here is an "after" picture.  Nice and tidy.  Now give them sunshine, fertilizer and time to grow.
Within a day of pruning, some rows were sprayed with AgroLiquid's growth enhancer Fase2.  This will be monitored for several years to measure effects vs unsprayed.  But if it's like apples, cherries and other tree crops, expect an extra load of olives in the future.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Belize? Believe It!

(So I remembered that I forgot to post this already.)  But do you remember Kalvin, the MSU student intern who worked at the NCRS last summer?  Of course you do.  Well he spent part of his Christmas break on an international school trip to Belize.  Everyone knows Belize is that small Central American country on the East coast by the Caribbean Sea.  English is one of the official languages there which made it easier for Kalvin and the others to order lunch.  But look what they found one day.  It seems like you can't go anywhere these days without coming across an AgroLiquid fertilizer dealer.  Here he is by the sign for Thiessen Liquid Fertilizer.  
It was around ten years ago that brothers John and David Thiessen started promoting Liquid nutrition in Belize.  They have since grown the business and farmers there use it on citrus, rice, corn, bananas, papaya, milo, potatoes, sugarcane, vegetables.....and probably anything else that is green and grows, right?  (In fact, John and David have been to the NCRS many times.) It is a Caribbean paradise and the Liquid truck drivers all fight to make those deliveries.  So if you find yourself in Belize and need to give your arugula a boost, do like Kalvin and stop by Thiessen Liquid Fertilizer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hello World

So I was busy last week.  Remember last May when my daughter Elyse got married?  It was posted here in the blog, since she worked briefly, well very briefly, at the NCRS back in high school.  Well she and her husband were anxious to start a family.  So they did, and look what happened!  Suddenly they are parents...and me, a grandfather.  So both grandparents and aunt (Dana from Montana, who worked three summers at the NCRS) went out to San Diego to make a family visit.  Very cute kid here. And his name is Logan.  He has more hair than gramps.
So it was a nice visit, and also nice to get away from the cold and snow in Michigan.  We took him on a few fun outings.  San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities to visit, but tough to get used to all of the traffic congestion. And once you get somewhere, good luck on finding a place to park.  But it was all worth it of course.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Drop What You're Doing and Register...Now!

So do you know about this?  AgroLiquid agronomist and prominent Texas Aggie Reid Abbott is sharing his knowledge on crop establishment in an upcoming webinar on Thursday March 12 at 11 am EDT.  This is his national debut, so you don't want to miss it.  Plus he says he will be sharing NCRS research.  So it's got to be good.  Unfortunately, I don't know how to transfer the links on the info piece below.  But if you want to register (and who doesn't?), then click the link I've inserted here:
Register for the webinar here: